Cabinet Hardware 101



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When it comes to refreshing a kitchen or bathroom or designing for a new build, one often overlooked detail that can make a significant impact is cabinet hardware. Those knobs and pulls might seem small, but they play a big role in the overall aesthetic of your space. With countless options available, choosing the right cabinet hardware can be both exciting and overwhelming. But fear not! Here's your ultimate guide on how to choose the perfect hardware for your cabinets without breaking a sweat.

Consider Your Style: Your cabinet hardware should complement the style of your home and/or furniture. Whether your style is modern, traditional, vintage, or eclectic, there's hardware out there to match. Sleek and minimalistic hardware may suit a contemporary kitchen, while a more decorative style might be perfect for a more traditional setting. You can also mix and match styles to an extent. For example, check out this transitional style kitchen where we utilized a sleek modern edge pull on drawers paired with a more traditional round knob on doors. There are so many design details in this kitchen that draw the eye in, so we wanted the cabinet hardware to take a back seat.

Think About Functionality: Beyond aesthetics, consider how comfortable and practical the hardware is to use. Opt for shapes that are ergonomic and easy to grip, especially for frequently used cabinets or drawers. Also think about how the hardware lives. We once installed t-pull style hardware on a new build not knowing that they move around. It drove us crazy to see them always pointing in different directions. They constantly needed to be adjusted!

Mix or Match Metals: It's no longer a rule to stick to one metal finish throughout your kitchen. Mixing metals is very on trend right now. We are commonly using black door hardware with polished nickel plumbing fixtures and gold light fixtures and cabinet hardware. It keeps the look from being too matchy matchy. However, if you prefer a cohesive style, choose hardware that matches the finish of your other fixtures and hardware. Trends come and go, and mixing metals may or may not be here to stay!

Size Matters: Ensure that the size of your hardware is proportionate to the size of your cabinets, and also functional. If utilizing knobs, we recommend doubling up if the drawer is wider than 18”. If utilizing pulls, we typically recommend only using 3” up to 16” and 5-6” up to 18”. Drawers wider than 20” or doors taller than 36” look beautiful with pulls 10” or larger. You can also double up on 3” pulls like the below.

If you have a variety of drawer and door sizes in one space, we recommend varying your sizing to meet the needs of each drawer or door. Notice in the bathroom below that the pulls on the under sink doors are a different size than the pulls used on the linen cabinet doors and oversized drawers. If you intend to do this, look for pulls that come in multiple sizes of the same style and finish.


Test Before Buying: Before committing to a particular style or finish, try out a few samples. This helps in visualizing how the hardware size and style will look against your cabinets and allows you to feel the quality and comfort of the pieces. 

Most importantly, metal colors can be very inconsistent. In general, I have not had issues mixing brands when it comes to black or polished chrome, but gold and nickel tones vary widely. A bathroom that has a different shade of gold on the cabinet hardware, shower glass hardware, and lighting will lose its elegance. Make sure to bring in sample hardware if you are purchasing pieces to work with existing plumbing fixtures, lighting, mirrors, etc.

If you are starting from scratch, we recommend staying within the same brand for finishes of the same color for ease. For example, the below bathroom has polished nickel plumbing fixtures from Brizo, so we made sure to also select a Brizo towel hook and toilet lever. We wanted to utilize both knobs and pulls here, so we stuck with Amerock’s Champagne Bronze finish for both. Some brands we like that carry multiple categories to make finish matching easy are Top Knobs , Emtek, Signature Hardware and Amerock.

Quality Matters…to an extent: You want to select hardware that can withstand daily use. Plenty of hardware chips or scratches (especially matte black), whether it’s pricey or not. We’ve seen $20/piece hardware scratch within days, and we’ve seen plenty of our tried and true Amazon Basics options for under $2 hold up for years.

If you are concerned about chipping/scratching, you have a couple of options to make life easier down the road. First, you can beat up your test samples a bit and see how it does. Drop it on the floor a few times and see if the wear is noticeable. This gives you an indication of what you’re in for. Second, you can also just plan for the worst. If you love the look and price of a hardware option but are worried it won’t hold up, buy plenty of extras and expect to replace them. Hardware is super easy to replace as a DIY.

Get Creative: Don't be afraid to think outside the box! Mix and match different styles or even consider unconventional materials like leather or glass for a unique touch. Unique hardware can transform the entire feel of a room. 

We are loving textured options like this pull that comes in 14 different sizes (including appliance pulls!) and 4 different finishes including the stunning honey bronze and ash gray colors below. The textured handle just adds the right touch of interest and a feel of quality.

You can also use your cabinet hardware as accessories. This knob would add so much glam to a powder room.

Or this one would be perfectly sophisticated in a man cave or office.

I would love to see this marble hardware used on a makeup vanity area or a powder room. It comes in 3 sizes and 9 different color/finish combinations.


Budget Wisely: If you are on a budget, determine your entire hardware budget beforehand and count how many pieces you will need. Oftentimes when browsing selections, you’ll lose sight of total dollars when you’re only seeing price per piece in front of you. If you know from the start that you need to stick with options under $4/piece, you won’t have sticker shock after adding potentially 150 pieces to cart. 

Installation Consideration: Check if the hardware you choose requires special tools or additional drilling. Check if it comes with all screws and parts needed for install. Ensure it's compatible with your cabinets to avoid any installation hassles. For example, edge pulls do not work well with many full overlay cabinets. 

If you are looking to DIY a hardware change and not have to fill existing holes, you’ll need to stay within the same type as your existing hardware. For example, if you have a single hole drilled, you'll need to stick with a knob or T-bar style. If you have a pull with a 5" spread, you'll need to find another pull with a 5" spread. This shouldn’t be limiting though- you can still change up your look with a different finish, color, or texture of hardware. There are literally millions of options out there. 

Choosing cabinet hardware doesn't have to be daunting. When we are selecting for a home, we turn to one of two sources. If we are looking for simple, yet on trend options for a great price, we use Amazon, and particularly Amazon BasicsAlso, we recently used this brand from Amazon and were impressed with the price and quality. Their hardware has some weight to it and has held up well so far.

When we are looking to use multiple styles and sizes across a house, need some eye candy, or want the latest and greatest, we use and narrow down by type, color, price, etc. 

Still wanting more ideas? We have another article with tons more inspo including splurge vs. save options here!

So, go ahead, have fun browsing through the myriad of options, and let your cabinets reflect your unique style and personality!


Whether you are looking to buy or sell, we can lead you through the process with your needs and goals as our main priority. Let us be your most valuable resource.

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